Paul Kersey, as played by the late Charles Bronson, has to be the most cursed person on the planet. The Deathwish films aren’t supernatural, but the way violence seems drawn to Kersey makes it as logical an explanation as any (other than it being a movie, that is). If you had to deal with Samara from “The Ring” you have seven days to either pawn the tape off on someone else or solve Samara’s mystery, while in the case of Paul Kersey, all he seems to get is a bus ride to his next murder spree.
I get the feeling that if he were headed to Amish country he would be attacked by roving gangs of Amish thugs trying to go Rumspringa on his ass (which is an interesting idea for a movie).
In the original “Death Wish” Paul Kersey’s family is attacked by hoodlums, who kill his wife and rape his daughter. As a result he becomes a one-man hit squad, tracking down the killers and dishing out justice when the police can’t (which is pretty often). The original film, based upon a novel by Brian Garfield, was a harrowing experience because everything unfolded in a realistic fashion. It also doesn’t hurt that it took place in New York City, which is a character in and of itself.
Despite being extremely effective, Kersey is a reluctant vigilante. You’re shown his progression, as he thwarts a potential mugger with a sock full of quarters till the city becomes his shooting gallery.
Deathwish is probably one of Bronson’s most memorable roles, and it’s easy to see why. It’s important to mention that Kersey is really hit hard by some horrific events, and it shows. Unfortunately, in the case of the sequels, this element is lost.
In other words, in the sequels he’s essentially the Terminator, minus the brawn and accent. He kills almost as if the producers have no other ideas, as opposed to it being a pressing need on the part of Paul Kersey.
A clever writer could have done something interesting with the idea, maybe introducing the idea of Kersey being shell-shocked (essentially what we call PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, today).